Santa Monica College (SMC) Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery has left its walls to launch Pop up on the Promenade, a program of placing artwork by SMC students and faculty in empty storefronts along Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The art installations are temporary and remain in operation for a short time – usually only a few weeks – depending on when a tenant vacates the location and a new tenant moves into it. The exhibitions add an aesthetic element to the popular pedestrian street, provide artists with a place to display their work, and help passers-by look in store windows, which is beneficial for local traders.
The first exhibition series of the touring program – Made in the Pandemic – opened on July 25th with works of art by Nina Guadalupe Cawley.
Cawley, who was a student in a sculpture class led by SMC professor and Barrett Gallery co-director Emily Silver, describes her work:
“This work was created at the height of the pandemic. Taken out of the classroom, I was forced to sit with my thoughts and processes in ways that I have never had before. With this huge sense of loneliness, I had to listen and trust myself, and the work became more emotional than I expected.
Before, I’d only done self-portraits in 2D, and I think it’s a lot easier to subconsciously edit how we look when we draw or paint. Now in 3D, because I used myself as part of the materials, it was incredibly personal. I started thinking about my body and its imperfections. As they are enhanced by the light in the masking tape sculpture, I realized that things that I have collected – like old magazines – could be a metaphor for beauty and strength, while temporary or fleeting, as depicted in the corset dress . During a really difficult time, this work revealed to me my inner strength, that during a pandemic I created work on my own and that I could get to know myself in a way that I never knew. “
The Pop up on the Promenade program presents additional installations from the Made in the Pandemic exhibition series if shop windows are made available. For more information, please call 310-434-3434.
Submitted by Grace Smith, SMC